MOUNT VERNON — Knox County Sheriff David Barber has asked for a 1.5 percent increase in his department’s budget. Barber presented the budget Thursday in a meeting with the county commissioners and explained that the increase is due to the expected loss of income from housing prisoners from Fairfield County.
Barber said Knox County has been bringing in between $400,000 and $500,000 annually for housing those prisoners, but Fairfield County has given notice that it will not require the service after Jan. 1.
To help offset the costs of operating the jail, Barber said they will be implementing some new fees, including a $10 book-in and book-out fee assessed to sentenced prisoners, a sort of “pay to stay” program.
A series of co-pays will be charged for non-emergency medical services, including $5 for a medical assessment, $10 for sick call, $5 for medication (plus 10 cents per pill), and a $10 co-pay for the dental clinic.
Barber also notified the commissioners his department will be renewing the $3,000 per month contract with Dr. Bill Elder for inmate health services.
Inmates who are certified as indigent do not have to pay the fees.
Barber said the department will be ending 2011 in the black and will not need to ask for any additional funds. He credited clerk Jan Wasiluk and Capt. Dave Shaffer for their work on budgeting and overtime issues, and the rank and file and union for understanding the current financial situation.
In almost all categories of the budget the sheriff is asking for are amounts that are close to the 2011 totals.
His budget request for everything but the jail is $2,154,100, compared to $2,123,338 in 2011. His jail budget projection is $1,936,195, compared to $1,908,153 for 2011.
The combined total is $4,090,295 compared to $4,031,491 in 2011.
Commissioner Teresa Bemiller emphasized that no decisions on the 2012 budget have been made yet.